Followed by hojodōshi (subsidiary verbs, corresponding to auxiliary verbs in western languages) such as いる(iru), ある(aru), やる(yaru), くれる(kureru), あげる(ageru), もらう(morau), おく(oku), くる(kuru), いく(iku), etc., to make their complement.
Used in the form …て…て (… te … te) to show emphasis or repetition.
ては(-te wa) and ても(-te mo) make conditional clauses.
A sentence-final particle, derived from the conjunctive particle above. Attaches to verbs and adjectives in the same way, and usually takes the form って when attaching to adjectives. Considered quite feminine.
Used to seek opinion or ask a question.
Mō goran ni natte?
Have you seen it?
Is it OK?
Indicates the speaker's opinion or judgment. Usually followed by よ(yo).
O-tegami chōdai ne. Matte te yo
Please send me a letter. I'm waiting.
Short for てください(-te kudasai) or てくれ(-te kure): makes a light command or request. Usually followed by よ(yo) or ね(ne).
Wait a minute.
Alternative form of the case, binding or sentence-final particle って(tte), used after the /ɴ/ sound.
When the て(te) indicates method or state, ない(nai) + て(te) becomes ないで(naide) instead of the regular なくて(nakute):
ご飯を食べなくて出た ― gohan o tabenakute deta ― I didn't eat and I went out.
ご飯を食べないで出た ― gohan o tabenaide deta ― I went out without eating.
In formal writing, て(te) is not used when simply indicating a series of actions or states. Instead, the ren'yōkei is used for all but the last action or state, and いる(iru) (which becomes い(i)) is replaced by おり(ori).
姉がピアノを弾き、妹が歌を歌う。 ― ane ga piano o hiki, imōto ga uta o utau. ― (formal) The elder sister plays piano and the younger sister sings songs.
In the western analysis of Japanese grammar, “て(te)” is not a particle but a suffix, and “ren'yōkei + て(te)” is usually called the gerund, a term used for subordinate adverbial verb forms in the description of many languages such as Dutch, Italian and Russian. For Japanese this nomenclature is found first in the works of Portuguese missionaries such as the Arte da Lingoa de Iapam and continues to be used to this day. In Japanese materials adopting the western analysis of Japanese grammar, this form is simply called the テ形(-te kei, “-te form”).